Since people are writing and talking about gender roles in marriage, we’ll offer our thoughts on the subject.
We see this discussion as a necessary corrective to the distortions in women’s and men’s thinking caused by the feminism of the past 50 years.
Marriage requires giving, the mutual giving of one’s self to succeed and endure. Marriage is not a winner take all, one way street for either spouse. Keep that in mind.
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What are your priorities, ladies? Do you put your career ahead of your spouse and your relationship with him? Are your children more important to you than your husband? (Be on guard against making idols out of your children.) Do you make time for your friends and your social media activities at the cost of spending some quality time with your husband? Do you listen to your parents and seek their counsel instead of openly discussing problems and concerns directly with your husband? Do you frequently second guess your husband’s decisions and question his leadership in your marriage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are harming your relationship with your husband and decreasing your chances for a happy, harmonious and lasting marriage.
Problems are created when children are spoiled and/or given unwarranted privileged treatment. In many Asian cultures, male children are preferred and are spoiled by their parents in their childhood. Regrettably, as adults, many of these males suffer from defects or flaws in their personal character. In such cultures, women and girls are devalued and are often treated badly (even to the point of being victims of female infanticide or sex selection abortions). In the US, we have the opposite situation. Female children have long been spoiled in our culture. This goes back quite a long ways in our history. The preferential treatment given to daughters in their early years was then coupled to a gender or radical feminism since the 1960s. This has resulted in the misunderstanding of gender roles in marriage, and the currently prevalent idea among many women that a man in marriage is to devote his every effort to be pleasing to his wife if he is to be worthy of her. (My not infrequent lament is that we do a poor job of raising our daughters here in the US.)
As to the sexual relationship you have with your spouse – and this applies to both wives and husbands – you need to be sexually available to your spouse. Playing the role of gatekeeper or refuser in the sexual relationship is morally wrong. Your spouse does not need to “earn” sex from you by doing something for you, or by being good or sensitive, or by agreeing with you on politics. If you withhold sexual intimacy from your spouse, you are sinning and are harming your marriage. And, wives, do not be misled by some of these neurotics in the pulpit telling you that if your husband desires frequent sex with you he will “objectify” you. That is bullshit often times put forth by holier than thou asceticism promoting fools. (Sorry to say, feminism has taken up residence in many of the Christian churches – churches already suffering from Augustinian sexual pessimism. No wonder many men have stopped attending church having grown weary of attacks on their natural masculine nature.) Sex in marriage is not just for making babies. As noted in a much earlier post on this blog, anthropologists tell us that it was the non-seasonal (i.e. continuous) sexual interest of the male for the female that led to monogamous, lifelong pairings in human societies around the world from prehistoric times to the present day. We note that this biological basis for monogamous pairing predates the much later rise of the organized religions.
Did you not take an oath to love your spouse? Part of that love is its physical and emotional expression in sexual intimacy. If you did not love your spouse at the time of your marriage, why did you marry? If you did not or do not love your spouse, you are guilty of fraud.
We have already addressed the nice guy syndrome in an earlier post. There are few things that turn my stomach more (literally true, I get a visceral reaction) than the man who lacks self-respect to the point that he cravenly strives not to ever risk offending his hyper sensitive and demanding wife. Having to walk on egg shells each and every day is no way to live. Giving one’s spouse her own way on everything is like spoiling a child. Not much good can come from such a practice. As well, women who wear the pants in their family and take on the masculine role are also off-putting to me.
As to a proper understanding of gender roles within marriage: How about husbands being masculine and wives being feminine? Just a thought.
The spouses ought to complement (as in complete) each other both emotionally and psychologically. The authentic masculine nature and the authentic feminine nature are complementary. The stumbling block for many women today is that femininity requires a certain level of healthy submission or submissiveness.
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